Yeah, sorry folks, this isn't about Greyhawk
, but I can't help but post about my second favorite pastime, baseball. This weekend the St. Louis Cardinals
won the National League
pennant and will face the Texas Rangers
of the American League
in the World Series
. Why is this victory significant to me? Besides being a fan of the Redbirds all my life of course, this League Championship is historic. Just for fun, I'll try to put it in terms even a gamer can appreciate; in the realm of sports stats the Cardinal's season was improbable as the most improbable of D&D
To start, the Cardinals lost their ace pitcher in spring training. This would be like the DM taking away your Fighter character's best magic sword before the adventure starts.
The Cardinals pushed on and by the mid point in the season (80 or so games) they were flagging behind in 3rd place behind the Brewers and the Pirates due to a terrible closing pitcher who kept blowing their wins. Imagine now your Fighter is trying to defeat say...pirates in combat (with his second best magic weapon) but he can't win because his team-mate the affable Bard can't seem to get the finishing blow.
The closer was dumped, new pitchers were acquired to fill in and the Cardinals hung in there- and with the strong bat of the "comeback player of the year" they started to climb back up the standings. This was sorta like dropping the Bard, getting a new Rogue's gallery of elves, halfling and dwarves, then the old Cleric of the group suddenly acquires a Girdle of Storm Giant Strength and heals the entire party back to maximum hit points
Despite their rise, the Cardinals still didn't win their division (damn Brewers Guild), and the wild card spot in the playoffs was 10 and half games out of reach with barely a month left to play. In D&D terms, your Fighter and Cleric are kicking ass and taking names but they are out of healing spells and the Fighter is down to his last few hit points. One more hit and he's dead.
But the Cardinals didn't die. They won the wild card playoff spot on the last game of the season (162 games long mind you) partly due to their tenacity in September and partly due to one of the greatest collapses in all of sports by the team they chased, the Atlanta Braves. Yeah, so against all odds your character narrowly averts death because all the remaining monsters couldn't get a single hit despite having a better attack bonus than you while every one of your attack rolls did maximum damage. All this transpires and the party makes it to the lair of the dragon...
The Cardinals being the wild card had to play the best team in the first round, the Philadelphia Phillies. The same Phillies who won 102 games and were the best team in all baseball, all season long. Their line up is a veritable all-star team, especially in the pitching department. In comparison, your Fighter sizes up the Dragon and realizes it is not only a Great Wyrm, but it has multiple attacks per round, each doing enough damage to kill a PC in a single hit.
Do the Cards back down? No! They out play and out maneuver the Phillies, taking them to the deciding final game where the Card's #2 pitcher (arguably #1) put on the game of the season, defeating the Philly's #1 pitcher in a complete game duel, ending in a 1-0 Cards win. This is like the Fighter, the Cleric, and the cast of demihumans all wounding the Dragon but falling in combat anyway. But not all is lost, the party Wizard drinks a Potion of Heroism, picks up the Fighter's magic sword-then goes toe to toe with the creature for nine rounds, eventually rolling a "natural 20" to kill it.
The Cardinals advanced to the second round to face the Milwaukee Brewers, who won their division and looked to be every bit as potent as the Phillies especially with their home field advantage and MVP players. The Dragon was slain and it was time to take the treasure home-but no! There was still the matter of getting out of the lair and defeating the evil Guild who now waited outside to steal your hard fought loot.
The Cardinals from the get-go lost the first game and it sure looked bleak, but they stole the second game and from there it seemed the Brewer's confidence was shaken. They were out scored, out pitched and worst of all made way too many errors. In the end, it was the Cardinals relief pitchers who stole the show not their starters. Back in D&D, your Fighter, all levelled up from the Dragon encounter, faced the Guild's best henchmen and mercenaries. Sure they traded blows at first but then the villains started to roll an improbable string of "natural 1" fumbles sealing their own doom. The dependable demihumans jumped in and finished the Guild off with ease after that. Yes, anti-climatic compared to the Dragon's lair, but a victory nonetheless.
The Cardinals, written off by most experts and even their own fans (Yeah me too) made it to the World Series! I say, what more do they have to do to win it all? Here's to hoping that Fighter gets to bring a big trophy back to his castle when this quest is over!
Update (10/28) Welp...the Fighter brought the trophy back to his castle after all! But first, he had go through an Epic Ranger who was barring his way. At first the Fighter was dishing out big damage, but then the Ranger had the upper hand with two straight rounds of punishment. Then miraculously the Cleric's young protégé stepped in and TWICE healed the Fighter back up from near death at -2 hit points. The Fighter summoned up his best critical swing and killed the Epic Ranger in the seventh round. Classic!
Update 4/20/2021: This was very thrilling to re-read 10 years later. I'm just sayin'.